Don O’Toole was surprised to wake up to the sound of a backhoe digging up a corner of his Chandler lot.
City contractors were putting in a sidewalk ramp May 17 to comply with the Arizonans with Disabilities Act, said Dan Cook, Chandler’s assistant public works director for transportation and operations.
O’Toole said he did not receive a notice the work would be done, adding that the contractor broke an irrigation line, and two bushes were pulled out. The work also expanded the sidewalk about 2 feet into his front yard.
"I feel that the city has taken my dirt, my land," said O’Toole, whose yard has grass surrounded by rocks, bushes and boulders. He lives in the Valencia development off Price and Ray roads.
"Now I’m left with a onefoot strip to landscape. My front yard has to be relandscaped so it looks respectable and not like an afterthought."
Cook said residents in the area were notified May 14 with door hangers, which could have blown off, he said.
The work was done on city-owned right of ways, which are 25 feet from the middle of the street, he said. "Over the years, someone put some bushes and some plants right up to the edge of the sidewalk," Cook said. "When we put the new ADA curb ramp in, it’s about two feet bigger than the existing one so we had to get into that planting area."
As far as the pulled bushes and the broken irrigation line, the city replaces all work damaged, Cook said.
The contractor came out Thursday and replanted a bush, redid the sprinkler system and spread some rock.
Although O’Toole is happy the work was redone in his yard, he said residents remain unaware of the city’s right of way.
"People are going to spend a lot of money on their landscaping and at some point in time the city can come and just tear it all down," said O’Toole, a Realtor. "It’s very, very misleading."
The sidewalk ramps are being replaced because the city this summer plans to mill and overlay the street.
Wendy Miller lives across the street from O’Toole and said she was not notified of the work and did not receive a door hanger.
"We paid extra for the oversized corner lot," Miller said. "If the city wants some of that land to expand their sidewalk, then they should have to pay for it just like we did."
For information on the upgraded sidewalk ramps, call Dan Cook at (480) 782-3426.